SACRAMENTO—Police say they were poised to arrest a Sacramento man for animal cruelty on Friday, September 26 when he was scheduled to arrive at the Sacamento County Courthouse on another charge, but he failed to appear. Meek had been arrested on August 14 on charges of possession of a controlled substance. Records show several prior arrests on drug charges the past several years, and at least one for petty theft in 2007.
Prosecutors filed a felony charge against William David Meek for the malicious maiming of an animal. Meek, 47, is described as 6 feet, 2 inches tall, 200 pounds and having brown hair with blue eyes. His last known address was in Citrus Heights.
Investigators say Meek told his girlfriend he was taking her border collie, Zelda, to an animal shelter but instead threw the dog into the American River with a bowling ball tied to its leash.
Despite being weighted down by the bowling ball and a large rock, the dog’s carcass was found on the surface of the water at River Park on June 17, 2014.
The 12-year-old border collie was identified by its microchip. Zelda reportedly bit a woman in a home where Meek’s girlfriend was staying and he offered to take the dog to the city animal shelter.
Sacramento Animal Care manager Gina Knepp said there was no indication he made any attempt to surrender Zelda at the shelter before drowning her in the river.
Knepp said a necropsy showed that the dog has died from drowning and had neck trauma from the struggle.
Neighbors on the North Sacramento street where Zelda had been staying were stunned when told what had happened to her. “That’s one step below torturing a child,” said Wayne Osborn, who lives across the street. Leo Suarez, who lives three doors down, remembered Zelda as a happy dog. “It’s so sad to hear that,” he said.
Update 11/06/14 – William Meek has been arrested in Reno Tuesday and is being held in Nevada’s Washoe County jail pending extradition to Sacramento. He was tracked to a Best Value Inn on an anonymous tip, the Sacramento Bee reported. He was taken into custody without incident.
Update 5/08/15 – Meek has reportedly pleaded no contest to the charges, the District attorney’s office announced today. He faces up to three years in jail or prison for felony animal cruelty.
Update 6/15/15 – It was announced that Meek was sentenced by Superior Court Judge Ben Davidian to serve three years in jail, the maximum sentence possible. He will also be prohibited from owning or caring for any animals for ten years. He was also reportedly dropped from a drug diversion program, and will thus serve an additional 270 days for a past drug possession case, according to the Sacramento Bee.